Hugh Sims QC

Year of call: 1999 | Silk: 2014

"Has great clarity of thought, is super intelligent, and is extremely easy to work with."
Chambers UK 2019

Hugh Hugh QC

Hugh is recognised as a star of the UK Bar, with rankings in Chambers UK 2016 as a leading barrister across 7 practice areas: Commercial, Professional Negligence, Insolvency, Banking & Finance, Partnership, Chancery and Company.

Hugh is instructed nationwide, both as sole leading counsel and with juniors, in complex and substantial disputes where his advocacy and forensic skills are highly valued.

Commercial

He enjoys working as a team, with clients, solicitors and junior barristers.  Hugh welcomes instructions across the whole spectrum of commercial disputes in the following areas:

  • Contract
  • Civil fraud
  • Sale and supply of goods
  • Corporate disputes
  • Partnership disputes
  • Banking & finance
  • Professional negligence & indemnity
  • Insurance
  • Restraint of trade
  • Competition and public procurement disputes
  • Breach of confidence
  • Passing off

Hugh has wide ranging sector knowledge, including experience in, the following sectors: accountancy, agriculture, banking, care homes, construction, charities, energy, including electricity generation and power distribution, insurance, financial services, hotel & leisure, marine, pharmaceuticals, software, technology and sports.

What Others Say

"He is clever, incisive and possesses a canny ability to provide lucid, practical and easily digestible advice for solicitors and clients alike." "He very quickly gets up to speed and provides clear and concise commercial guidelines in respect of his client's legal predicament." (Chambers UK 2016)

"He is a very able advocate, is immensely practical and commercial, and has courage in his convictions" (Chambers UK 2015)

"He is extremely sharp, willing to consider innovative arguments and willing to place his neck on the line when giving advice." (Chambers UK 2014)

"is a versatile barrister with many strings to his bow. Possessed of a broad span of knowledge in the commercial sphere, he is a "dynamic performer"... Hailed as a "can-do operator" who "sees solutions, not problems," Sims' work on his feet wins just as much praise as his "exceptional written advice." "He's the best cross-examiner for us and probably the first we'd go to," said one interviewee." (Chambers UK 2013)

Recent Cases

  • Lowick Rose LLP v Swynson [2015] EWCA Civ 629 (Longmore, Davis and Sales LLJ) - Hugh, leading James Wibberley also of Guildhall Chambers, represented the respondent in the Court of Appeal, successfully resisting an appeal from the decision of Rose J, who found that a partial re-financing exercise was a collateral benefit (or res inter alios acta) and not to be deducted from the damages award made at first instance. The appellant has been granted permission to appeal to the Supreme Court, who are due to hear the appeal in November 2016.
  • Gartell v Yeovil Town Football & Athletic Club Limited [2016] EWCA Civ 62 (Laws, Floyd and Bean LLJ) - Hugh represented the successful appellant in the Court of Appeal, in an appeal concerning non-performance of construction works carried out at Yeovil Town's football stadium, Huish Park, and the correct approach to quantification of damages.
  • Iglu.com Ltd v Wests (QBD (Merc)) (Bristol) (HHJ Havelock-Allan QC) - Hugh is acting on behalf of the claimant in a substantial share warranty dispute claim in proceedings issued in the Bristol Mercantile Court.
  • Education Umbrella v Bertram Trading (QBD (Merc)) (Bristol) (HHJ Havelock-Allan QC) - Hugh represented the successful claimant in urgent business critical injunction proceedings and obtained a mandatory injunction (October 2014) to preserve the dynamic status quo in a business relationship pending a speedy trial. 
  • Swynson v Lowick Rose LLP (formerly Hurst Morrison Thomson) [2014] EWHC 2085; [2014] PNLR 27 (Ch) Rose J - Hugh, leading Nicholas Briggs also of Guildhall Chambers, successfully represented the claimant up to and including trial in a £15 million professional negligence claim brought by lender against firm of accountants in relation to due diligence report concerning a purchase of a US medical homecare company (March - June 2014) (reported on bailli: http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Ch/2014/2085.html).
  • PHS v Initial (Rentokil) [2014] EWCA Civ 29 (Rimer LJ, Lewison LJ, Briggs LJ) - Hugh led Douglas Leach in the Court of Appeal, successfully responding to an appeal concerning the duties of confidence in commercial agency relationships (November 2013) (reported on bailli: http://www.bailii.org/cgi-bin/markup.cgi?doc=/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2014/29.html).
  • McCarthy v Ludlow Orbis (Ch D) (Cardiff) (HHJ Jarman QC) - Hugh acted on behalf of joint venture partner in pre-action proceedings (ChD (Cardiff)) relating to alleged breaches of shareholder agreement. Settled on satisfactory terms to client following mediation (March 2014).
  • John Grimes Partnership Ltd v Walter Gubbins [2013] EWCA Civ 37 - Hugh acted for the successful counterclaimant up to, and at, a 7 day trial of a factually and technically difficult professional negligence claim against an engineer, involving an unusual market fall loss claim (Exeter TCC). The Court of Appeal, where he was led by Adrian Palmer QC, dismissed the appeal.
  • Airbus v Withey & Others [2014] EWHC 1126 (QB) (QBD (Merc)) (Bristol) (HHJ Havelock-Allan QC) - Hugh represented 2 of 6 defendants up to, and at, a 22 day trial of a £1.1m bribery claim (February 2013).  Hugh helped the defendants defeat the bribery allegations in a Judgment handed down in April 2014 and the secret commission claim was settled on satisfactory terms following permission to apeal being granted.

Professional Negligence

"Renowned for acting for claimants in complex professionala and commercial negligence matters in both Bristol and on a National scale." (Chambers UK 2016)

"A commercial and chancery practitioner with a strong professional negligence practice. He is instructed in claims against a broad array of professionals, including accountants, solicitors and surveyors." (Chambers UK 2014)

Hugh represents claimants and defendants in complex and substantial professional negligence & indemnity disputes in England & Wales. He enjoys working as a team, with clients, solicitors and junior barristers.

Hugh welcomes instructions in bringing and defending claims against the following professionals:

  • Accountants, including insolvency practitioners and auditors
  • Solicitors
  • Surveyors
  • Engineers
  • Financial advisors
  • Barristers and Patent agents

What Others Say

"He is the go-to guy for lender claims." "He's not just a bright cookie, he's also very personable and likeable."  "He is prepared to listen to the clients and their views and instructions." (Chambers UK 2016)

"He makes fairly complex seem very easy and effortless.  He's good on paper and good on his feet" (Chambers UK 2015)

"He is extremely accomplished, very client and solicitor-friendly, and a most effective advocate." "He's very relaxed; he's got a calming impact on people. He doesn't get flustered with clients and doesn't go overly legal on them (Chambers UK 2014)

Recent Cases

  • Lowick Rose LLP v Swynson [2015] EWCA Civ 629 (Longmore, Davis and Sales LLJ) - Hugh, leading James Wibberley also of Guildhall Chambers, represented the respondent in the Court of Appeal, successfully resisting an appeal from the decision of Rose J, who found that a partial re-financing exercise was a collateral benefit (or res inter alios acta) and not to be deducted from the damages award made at first instance. The appellant has been granted permission to appeal to the Supreme Court, who are due to hear the appeal in November 2016.
  • Re Altala - Hugh, leading Holly Doyle, is advising in relation to multi-million professional negligence claims arising from the failure of the company formed to set up a multiple health lottery scheme nationwide.
  • Swynson v Lowick Rose LLP (formerly Hurst Morrison Thomson) [2014] EWHC 2085 (Ch) ); [2014] PNLR 27  Rose J - Hugh, leading Nicholas Briggs also of Guildhall Chambers, successfully represented the claimant up to and including trial in a £15 million professional negligence claim brought by lender against firm of accountants in relation to due diligence report concerning a purchase of a US medical homecare company (March -June 2014). Appeal and cross appeal concerning matters as to quantum (and the application of the res inter alios acta principle), liability caps and non-party costs pending in the Court of Appeal. (reported on bailli:http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Ch/2014/2085.html)
  • Platform Funding Ltd v Simon & Co (QBD (Merc)) (Bristol) (HHJ Havelock-Allan QC) - Hugh acted for the successful claimant bank up to and at trial of professional negligence claim against solicitors in relation to identify theft; guidance as to identity checks required to be carried out by conveyancing solicitors (November 2013).
  • Mortgage Agency Services v Merchant Legal LLP (QBD (Merc)) (Bristol) (Leslie Blohm QC) - Hugh acted for successful claimant bank up to and at trial of negligence & breach of fiduciary duty claim against solicitors in relation to mortgage fraud (sub-sale and back to back transactions) (August 2013).
  • Akerman v Chapman Molony (ChD (RCJ) (London) - Hugh acted in proceedings relating to alleged professional negligence against patent attorney; proceedings settled (April 2013).
  • JGP Ltd v Gubbins - Hugh acted for the successful defendant/counterclaimant up to, and at, a 7 day trial of a factually and technically difficult professional negligence claim against an engineer, involving an unusual market fall loss claim. The Court of Appeal, where he was led by Adrian Palmer QC, dismissed the appeal. Reported as John Grimes Partnership Ltd v Walter Gubbins [2013] EWCA Civ 37 (February 2013).
  • Mortgage Title Resolutions Services Ltd v J E Shepherd Chartered Surveyors (QBD (Merc)) (Bristol) (HHJ Denyer QC) - Hugh acted on behalf of a claimant bank in a claim brought against a firm of surveyors concerning alleged professional negligence in residential mortgage lending (January 2013).

Banking & Finance

"A well-respected barrister rapidly developing a first-class reputation at silk level for his expertise in the finance sector and experience in banking disputes.  He acts both for and against banks on a wide variety of matters..." (Chambers Uk 2016)

"Instructed to act both for and against banks and financial institutions on a variety of issues in the area including mortgage fraud, guarantee enforcement and negligence matters." (Chambers UK 2014)

Hugh acts in complex, high-value banking and financial disputes in England & Wales. He enjoys working as a team, with clients, solicitors and junior barristers.

Hugh welcomes instructions in the following areas:

  • All aspects of asset recovery for and against banks, finance houses and individuals, financial services regulatory field & consumer credit
  • Mortgage fraud
  • Personal and corporate guarantee claims
  • Professional negligence and economic tort claims by and against banks
  • Payment and mistaken payment disputes

What Others Say

"He's thorough, commercial and determined." "He's really an excellent advocate." (Chambers UK 2016)

"He makes fairly complex cases seem very easy, very effortless". "One of the most talented barristers at the Bristol Bar". (Chambers UK 2015)

"A real solid performer on paper and in court." (Chambers UK 2014)

"...a solid reputation for complex, high-value claims in the banking area" (Chambers UK 2013)

Hugh "is also heavily involved in banking and finance disputes as an addendum to his formidable commercial litigation practice. Solicitors favour him as an accessible and user-friendly practitioner who "will always get to the root of complex issues." (Chambers UK 2012)

Recent Cases

  • Lowick Rose LLP v Swynson [2015] EWCA Civ 629 (Longmore, Davis and Sales LLJ) - Hugh, leading James Wibberley also of Guildhall Chambers, represented the respondent (lender) in the Court of Appeal, successfully resisting an appeal from the decision of Rose J, who found that a partial re-financing exercise was a collateral benefit (or res inter alios acta) and not to be deducted from the damages award made at first instance.  The appellant has been granted permission to appeal to the  Supreme  Court, who are due  to hear the appeal in November 2016.
  • Barclays Bank plc v Boll (ChD) (Bristol) - Hugh is acting for Barclays in relation to proceedings concerning allegations of breach of mandate and sale at undervalue (November 2014).
  • Platform Funding Ltd v Simon & Co (QBD (Merc)) (Bristol) (HHJ Havelock-Allan QC) - Hugh acted for the successful claimant lender at trial of professional negligence claim against solicitors in relation to identify theft; guidance as to identity checks required to be carried out by conveyancing solicitors (November 2013).
  • Mortgage Agency Services v Merchant Legal LLP (QBD (Merc)) (Bristol) (Leslie Blohm QC) - Hugh acted for successful claimant lender at trial of negligence & breach of fiduciary duty claim against solicitors in relation to mortgage fraud (sub-sale and back to back transactions) (August 2013).
  • Swynson v Lowick Rose LLP (formerly Hurst Morrison Thomson) [2014] EWHC 2085 (Ch); [2014] PNLR 27 Rose J - Hugh, leading Nicholas Briggs also of Guildhall Chambers, successfully represented the claimant up to and including trial in a £15 million professional negligence claim brought by lender against firm of accountants in relation to due diligence report concerning a purchase of a US medical homecare company (March -June 2014). Appeal and cross appeal concerning matters as to quantum (and the application of the res inter alios acta principle), liability caps and non-party costs pending in the Court of Appeal (reported on bailli: http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Ch/2014/2085.html).
  • Mortgage Title Resolutions Services Ltd v J E Shepherd Chartered Surveyors (QBD (Merc)) (Bristol) (HHJ Denyer QC) - Hugh acted on behalf of a claimant bank in a claim brought against a firm of surveyors concerning alleged professional negligence in residential mortgage lending (January 2013).

Company Law & Partnership

Represents clients across many company matters, drawing on his expertise in insolvency and banking & finance to great effect." "Distinguished commercial silk who regularly acts at the intersection of corporate, commercial and partnership issues, handling both traditional and quasi-partnership matters." (Chambers UK 2016).

Hugh acts in complex and high value company, joint venture and partnership disputes in England & Wales. He enjoys working as a team, with clients, solicitors and junior barristers.

Hugh welcomes instructions in the following areas:

  • Unfair prejudice petitions
  • Directors disputes and misfeasance
  • Derivative claims
  • Share sale and purchase disputes
  • Warranty claims
  • Share rectification proceedings
  • Partnership
  • Joint venture disputes

What Others Say

"He is straight forward and forthright and very able to use effective tactics at trial." "Always a very safe pair of hands and great to have on your side: you know he's going to throw all the right punches." "He's reponsive, analytical and has a good manner with clients." (Chambers UK 2016)

"He always thinks of the wider picture."  "He is equally good at drafting and advocacy" (Chambers UK 2015)

"Hugh is efficient and really delves into the detail of a case. He can turn around work quickly and is very approachable. He is an extremely good advocate - excellent at simplifying complex matters." (Chambers UK 2014)

"Good in court and good with the client," he is "a class act," who has recently advised on a number of property development or construction-related partnership disputes." (Chambers UK 2013)

Hugh "handles difficult partnership cases with aplomb. He is known for his "ability to keep a calm hand on the tiller and steer an astute course through complex partnership litigation." (Chambers UK 2012)

Recent Cases

  • Re Sherlock Holmes Society Limited (ChD, London)(Mark Anderson QC) - Hugh, leading Christopher Brockman also of Guildhall Chambers, acted on behalf of the applicant in a dispute concerning the authority of the purported director of the company to bring an appeal against a winding up petition (January 2016)
  • Re Infinite Renewables Limited (ChD, London) - Hugh is acting in an unfair prejudice shareholder dispute concerning shareholders in a renewable electricity generation company in South Wales.
  • Iglu.com Ltd v Wests (QBD (Merc)) (Bristol) (HHJ Havelock-Allan QC) - Hugh is acting on behalf of the claimant in a substantial share warranty dispute claim in proceedings issued in the Bristol Mercantile Court.
  • Ballast Tools (UK) Ltd (ChD) (Bristol) (John Jarvis QC) - Hugh lead Daisy Brown (also of Guildhall Chambers) at a trial of a  director’s duties, bribery and conspiracy to injure claim, which settled on satisfactory settlements following opening submissions (September 2014).
  • McCarthy v Ludlow Orbis - Hugh acted on behalf of joint venture partner in pre-action proceedings (ChD (Cardiff)) relating to alleged breaches of shareholder agreement, against QC (October 2013). Unfair prejudice proceedings.  Settled on satisfactory terms to client following mediation (March 2014)
  • Cuddy v Hawkes - Acting in unfair prejudice shareholder dispute concerning shareholders in Neath RFC. Proceedings ongoing.
  • Future Inns (UK) Limited v The Premier Options Funds Plc QBD (Merc) (Bristol) (Unreported) - Dispute concerning expert valuation of hotel assets worth in excess of £10m and other issues arising in relation to limited liability partnership (settled after summary judgment application, December 2012). Leading Holly Doyle and against QCs.
  • Re: Flaxley Abbey Estate Partnership (ChD)(Bristol) - Acting on behalf of claimant in partnership accounts dispute relating to Flaxley Abbey. Proceedings ongoing (2014 - ongoing).

Technology & Construction

Hugh has a first class physics degree. He enjoys, cases with a scientific and technical background. He has particular expertise in complex and technical commercial & professional negligence & indemnity disputes in England & Wales. He enjoys working as a team, with clients, experts, solicitors and junior barristers.

What Others Say

"He is a very charismatic individual.  Clients love him to bits: he's charming, articulate, quick-witted and indefatigable in his determination to win." "He is very good at seeing the bigger picture and finding a new way through multifaceted disputes." (Chambers UK 2016)

"He is extremely accomplished, very client and solicitor-friendly, and a most effective advocate." "He's very relaxed; he's got a calming impact on people. He doesn't get flustered with clients and doesn't go overly legal on them (Chambers UK 2014)

Recent Cases

  • Gartell v Yeovil Town Football & Athletic Club Limited [2016] EWCA Civ 62 (Laws, Floyd and Bean LLJ) - Hugh represented the successful appellant  in the  Court of Appeal, in an appeal concerning non-performance of construction works carried out at Yeovil Town's football stadium, Huish Park, and the correct approach to quantification of damages.
  • Smart Aluminium Extrusions Ltd v Aalco Metals Limited (QBD (Merc) Bristol) - Hugh is acting in a £1m mercantile court dispute concerning the supply and quality of aluminium extrusion bars which concerns technical issues as to the mechanical stress properties of the materials supplied (2014 - ongoing).
  • Ranbay v Iprad (QBD) (RCJ) - Hugh acted for the successful claimant in summary judgment application in relation to a contract for the supply of generic pharmaceutical drugs between two French companies (hearing November 2013; judgment handed down 2014)
  • John Grimes Partnership Ltd v Walter Gubbins [2013] EWCA Civ 37 - Hugh acted for the successful counterclaimant up to, and at, a 7 day trial of a factually and technically difficult professional negligence claim against an engineer, involving an unusual market fall loss claim (Exeter TCC). The Court of Appeal, where he was led by Adrian Palmer QC, dismissed the appeal. (February 2013).
  • Mortgage Title Resolutions Services Ltd v J E Shepherd Chartered Surveyors (QBD (Merc)) (Bristol) - Hugh acted on behalf of a claimant bank in a claim brought against a firm of surveyors concerning alleged professional negligence in residential mortgage lending (January 2013).
  • Ecovision Energy Solutions Ltd v Virtual Energy Ltd & Others (QBD (Merc) Bristol) - Hugh acted on behalf of a solar power energy company in a successful mandatory injunction claim to ensure release of electronic meter reading data  (September 2012).
  • Windows Merchant UK Ltd v Timbmet Ltd (Exeter, TCC) - Hugh acted on behalf of the successful defendant at a 7 day trial concerning the technology of window making and product liability issues relating to the same (April 2012).

Insolvency

"Focuses on corporate insolvency work.  He is noted for his experise in directors' disqualification matters and for his expertise in disputes for and against insolvency practitioners." (Chambers UK 2016)

"Holds an excellent reputation in this field, and focuses his practice on corporate insolvency work. Commentators are also keen to highlight his expertise in directors' disqualification proceedings." (Chambers UK 2014)

Hugh acts in complex and substantial company and personal insolvency disputes, including claims for and against insolvency practitioners. He enjoys working as a team, with clients, solicitors and other junior barristers.

Hugh welcomes instructions in the following areas:

  • Corporate insolvency, including administrations, liquidations and CVLs
  • Claw back and recovery claims
  • Directors and office holder misfeasance claims
  • Directors' disqualification
  • Personal insolvency, including bankruptcy and IVAs

What Others Say

"He is utterly charming, technically incredible and amazing in court." (Chambers UK 2016)

"He has a very keen mind, and is a simply excellent trial advocate".  He is exceptional both with clients and at trial" (Chambers UK 2015)

"He is ferociously bright, pragmatic, client-friendly and exceptionally talented." "He rolls his sleeves up and gets stuck in." (Chambers UK 2014)

"very bright and personable" provides "good commercial advice," and is "well received by judges and he's confident in his demeanour." (Chambers UK 2013)

Recent Cases

  • Re Rococo Developments Limited (Ch D) (Cardiff) (HHJ Jarman QC); Court of Appeal - Hugh has been instructed to act for the respondent in the Court of Appeal in relation to issues concerning the balance sheet insolvency test in relation to claw back claims.  Appeal pending. Leading Simon Passfield.
  • Re 375 Live Limited [2015] EWHC 870 (Ch) Ch D (Companies Ct) (Registrar Briggs) - Hugh acted for the successful applicant at the trial of a validation application under s 127 IA 86, to validate a post-petition disposition of a commercial property in Hatton Gardens, London. The Court considered the principles applicable to post-petition dispositions made without notice of a winding up petition. Hugh also assisted in successfully resisitng the appeal from this decision (HHJ Purle QC, January 2016)
  • Re Sherlock Holmes Limited (Ch D) (Companies  Ct) - Hugh, leading Christopher Brockman, acted for the successful petitioner seeking the winding up of a company limited by guarantee (January 2015).
  • Re Caterham F1 - Advising the liquidators of Caterham F1 on a variety of issues which have arisen out of the insolvency of the Formula 1 team in 2014 (ongoing). Leading Stefan Ramel.
  • Re Detail 2 Retail (Ch D) (Manchester) HHJ Bird - Acting for respondents in relation to £1m alleged unlawful return of capital and misfeasance claims arising from the liquidation of a recruitment company based in Manchester (trial June 2014, settled on appeal Autumn 2014).
  • Altala (Ch D (RCJ) (Company) - Acting for liquidator in relation to misfeasance and professional negligence claims arising from the administration and liquidation of the company formerly known as The Health Lottery Ltd (ongoing). Leading Holly Doyle.
  • Re J Wernick (Furniture) Ltd (Ch D (RCJ) (Company) - £2.6m transaction defrauding creditors claim under s423 IA 86 against third party recipients of purported dividends. Leading Simon Passfield and against QC. Settled (Autumn 2013).
  • Rose v Jackson Ch D (RCJ) (Bankruptcy) (Ch D (RCJ)) - £2.2m personal insolvency recovery claim brought by trustee in bankruptcy against reputed spouse of deceased bankrupt, seeking to recover assets in England & Wales and outside the jurisdiction (settled before trial, November 2012).
  • Re NSS Solutions Ltd Ch D (Bristol) (John Jarvis QC, Deputy High Court Judge) - Directors misfeasance claim brought by liquidator against shadow director and associated company (settled following conclusion of evidence at trial, October 2012).
  • Re Baillies Ltd (Unreported) Ch D (Birmingham) - £4.4m carousel fraud claim brought by company liquidator under (amongst others) s 423 IA 86, Court of Appeal hearing on issues relating to the EC Service Regulations and characterisation of s423 IA 86 proceedings (settled following CoA hearing, October 2012). Leading Stefan Ramel.

Sports Law

Hugh acts in sports disputes both in court and in tribunal hearings, including contract, commercial and insolvency disputes concerning players, sports clubs and governing bodies in England & Wales. He enjoys working as a team, with clients, solicitors and junior barristers.

Hugh welcomes instructions in the following areas:

  • Contractual disputes
  • Corporate and shareholder disputes
  • Compensation claims relating to players and disciplinary proceedings
  • Acting for and against football clubs, rugby clubs, hockey clubs and golf clubs
  • Acting for and against sports governing bodies

Recent Cases

  • Gartell v Yeovil Town Football & Athletic Club Limited [2016] EWCA Civ 62 (Laws, Floyd and Bean LLJ) - Hugh represented the successful appellant  in the  Court of Appeal, in an appeal concerning non-performance of construction works carried out at Yeovil Town's football stadium, Huish Park, and the correct approach to quantification of damages.
  • Cuddy v Hawkes (Ch D (RCJ) - Acting in unfair prejudice shareholder dispute concerning shareholders in Neath Rugby Football Club (linked to previous proceedings reported at [2009] EWCA Civ 291, [2009] All ER (D) 42 (Apr); ([2007] EWHC 2999 (Ch).
  • Exeter City v Southampton - FA arbitration dispute relating to alleged breach of player transfer contract.
  • Exeter City v TGMS Ltd & Speedcut Contractors Ltd - Representing club in breach of contract and professional negligence dispute relating to turf laying of sports pitch.
  • Fleetwood Town FC v The Football Conference Limited - Representing club in FA appeals tribunal relating to the points deduction rule arising from another club’s insolvency and its effect on league results.

international / offshore

Hugh’s broad ranging commercial and insolvency expertise has resulted in him being asked to provide advice and assistance on his own, and with juniors, in relation to international work and involving offshore jurisdictions, including corporate governance and unfair prejudice matters as well as general commercial and insolvency disputes.

Some examples of that work is as follows:

  • Re: ICC – advising the International Cricket Council (“the ICC”) in 2017 in relation to arbitration proceedings concerning, amongst other things, the application of theBVI Business Companies Act 2004, and its equivalent to section 994 of the Companies Act 2006 (unfair prejudice petitions) (2017)
  • Re: ICC - advising the International Cricket Council (“the ICC”) in relation to the meaning and application of its articles of association in relation to an internal governance dispute – the ICC is the global governing and sanctioning body for the sport of cricket. It is a company limited by guarantee incorporated in the British Virgin Islands (“BVI”) with its principal place of business located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates) (2016)
  • Re: Les Salines IRS Co Ltd – development contract dispute in the Mauritius – advising with junior counsel (Stefan Ramel) on the application for leave to appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council from the Supreme Court of Mauritius (2014)
  • Re: MBI International & Partners Inc (Commercial Division of the High Court, BVI, and in the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court) – liquidation proceedings proceeding in the BVI - advising on appeal to the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court from a decision of the Commercial Division of the High Court, which refused to terminate the liquidation of MBI International & Partners Inc (“the Company”) – consideration of the just and equitable test under section 233 of the BVI Insolvency Act 2003 (2013 & 2014)

Recommendations


CHAMBERS UK 2019

Banking & Finance

Has a highly respected commercial practice that includes deep expertise in an array of areas, including chancery, company law, professional negligence and insolvency-related disputes. His work in the area of banking and finance includes acting both for and against banks and other financial institutions.

"Clients love him. He's really personable and has a great legal mind. He pre-empts his opponent's moves and thinks three or four steps in advance. He's great strategically and tactically but he's also very approachable and responsive." "He is phenomenally bright and very good at what he does. He fits in well as part of the team and has an interpersonal touch that not all barristers do."

Recent work: Acted on behalf of the claimant car auction business in Premier Motorauctions v PwC and Lloyds Bank, both at first instance and at appeal, alleging conspiracy to artificially distress its company with a view to making a profit by selling it at an undervalue.

Company

Highly regarded commercial and insolvency silk with significant expertise in company disputes. He has extensive experience in unfair prejudice disputes, derivative claims and breach of fiduciary cases, acting both for and against directors.

"He's a great trial lawyer - he's very impressive, very precise and very good with judges." "He's very good, a very effective advocate. He's the leading light down here in this sort of work, he's highly rated."

Recent work: Successfully acted for the applicant in a dispute as to whether a purported director of a company had authority to appeal against a winding-up petition.

Restructuring/Insolvency

A standout silk who has published widely on insolvency law and practice. In addition to corporate and personal insolvency, he has a particular expertise in asset recovery and directors' liability. He has extensive experience assisting trustees in bankruptcy and private individuals with complex, high-value claims surrounding personal insolvency. He has experience of insolvency cases involving wrongdoing.

"He is fantastic, our first choice. He is very approachable, his intellect is superb and he is very creative." "Bright, responsive and commercial."

Recent work: Led a claim for a company against administrators for £10 million. The claim was based around the alleged wrongdoing of the former administrators.

Professional Negligence

A leading figure for advising claimants on professional negligence matters against solicitors, surveyors, accountants and construction companies. He receives instructions on matters both locally and nationally.

"He's our first-choice silk in Bristol for professional negligence or general commercial litigation." "He is phenomenally bright and very good at what he does, but is also extremely approachable." "Hugh is exceptionally bright, a skilled advocate and great on strategy."

Recent work: Represented the claimants in multimillion-pound proceedings against the former receivers of a commercial premises. The case involved allegations of a negligent sale at undervalue and lack of good faith on the part of the receivers.

Partnership

An exceptionally versatile commercial silk, praised for his advocacy, advice and client-handling skills across an impressive range of practice areas. In the partnership sphere, he regularly handles high-stakes issues with a strong commercial flavour, including those concerning real property or family partnerships, or quasi-partnership structures. He advises extensively on matters affecting solicitors' firms and is commended for his handling of matters where relationships have irretrievably broken down.

"Great trial lawyer - very impressive, very precise and very good with judges." "He is phenomenally bright but also extremely approachable."

Recent work: Instructed in a quasi-partnership unfair prejudice shareholder dispute concerning three shareholders in a renewable electricity generation company in South Wales.

Chancery

Highly respected insolvency silk with a broad chancery practice covering company disputes, real property and partnership matters. He has a particularly strong reputation for commercial work and regularly acts in banking and finance disputes and civil fraud cases.

"A class act, who is stylish, he is measured, has a nice court manner and is liked by clients." "Has great clarity of thought, is super intelligent, and is extremely easy to work with."

Recent work: Acted for the claimants in an appeal against a decision concerning the interpretation of a contract for sale of residential development land and Wrotham Park damages.

Commercial Dispute Resolution
A formidable barrister who handles all manner of contentious commercial issues, from commercial agency disagreements to construction disputes. He is instructed across a broad range of sectors, including technology, sports and financial services. He is also noted for his expertise in professional negligence, company and insolvency matters.

"He's a standout barrister who has a very good style with clients - he's easy to work with, pragmatic and practical." "He's very approachable, engaging and responsive, as well as being great with clients." "He is extremely bright and user-friendly."

Recent work: Acted for Premier Motorauctions in proceedings against Lloyds Bank and PwC for an alleged unlawful means conspiracy to artificially distress a profitable company with a view to making profit from a sale at undervalue.


legal 500 2019

Commercial, Banking, Insolvency & Chancery                                               

'Fantastically bright; a top-class advocate.’


CHAMBERS UK 2018

Banking & Finance

Leading Silk - Band 1

Has a highly respected commercial practice that includes deep expertise in an array of areas, including chancery, company law, professional negligence and insolvency-related disputes. His work in the area of banking and finance includes acting both for and against banks and other financial institutions.

Strengths: "He is excellent with clients and very able to deal with complex, document-heavy matters with speed and authority." "He remains a go-to choice for complex general commercial claims and shareholder disputes, and is one of the leading commercial silks operating outside of London. He has a fierce intellect and is very client friendly, he is always making himself available."

Recent work: Represented the claimants in proceedings alleging unlawful conspiracy in order to artificially distress a company.

Chancery

Leading Silk - Band 1

Highly respected insolvency silk with a broad chancery practice covering company disputes, real property and partnership matters. He has a particularly strong reputation for commercial work.

Strengths: "He's excellent, completely on the ball and good with clients." "Very able to deal with complex, document-heavy matters with speed and authority."

Recent work: Successfully represented Premier Motorauctions against PwC and Lloyds Bank, in a case regarding an unlawful means conspiracy to artificially distress a profitable company in order to gain from a sale at an undervalue.  

Commercial dispute resolution

Leading Silk - Band 1

A formidable barrister who handles all manner of contentious commercial issues, from commercial agency disagreements to construction disputes. He is instructed across a broad range of sectors, including technology, sports and financial services.

Strengths: "He's always a great pleasure to work with. Probably the best commercial barrister in the South West; he seems to be universally approved of in the region." "He combines a very sharp intellect with tremendous approachability, and he gives advice grounded in common sense."

Recent work: Successfully represented the appellant in a Court of Appeal case concerning non-performance of construction works at Yeovil FC's stadium.

Company

Leading Silk - Band 1

A silk with a highly reputable practice in general commercial and insolvency work. His areas of focus and recognised expertise include company disputes, breach of fiduciary duties on behalf of directors, derivative claims and unfair prejudice dispu

Strengths: "Excellent with clients and able to deal with complex, document-heavy matters with speed and authority." "The pre-eminent barrister in the region. Very effective in court and very popular with solicitors."

Partnership

Leading Silk - Band 1

An exceptionally versatile commercial silk, praised for his advocacy, advice and client-handling skills across an impressive range of practice areas. In the partnership sphere, he regularly handles high-stakes issues with a strong commercial flavour, including those concerning real property or family partnerships, or quasi-partnership structures. He also advises extensively on matters affecting solicitors' firms and is commended for his handling of matters where relationships have irretrievably broken down.

Strengths: "Extremely well known and well regarded, he has a huge brain, gets to grips with things very quickly and is very good with clients."

Professional Negligence

Leading Silk - Band 1

A leading figure for advising claimants in professional negligence matters against solicitors, surveyors, accountants and construction companies. He receives instructions on matters both locally and nationally.

Strengths: "He is always available and very good at anticipating what the other side might do and that's very helpful." "He's bright, meticulous, hard working and thoroughly excellent." "As an advocate, he is excellent. Easy to deal with, client-friendly and very good at working in a team."

Recent work: Represented the claimant in Synson v Lowick Rose. This concerned a £15 million professional negligence claim brought by a lender against a firm of accountants in relation to a due diligence report concerning a purchase of a US medical homecare company.

Restructuring / Insolvency

Leading Silk - Band 1

A strong commercial barrister who specialises in corporate insolvency work. He acts in claims for and against insolvency practitioners, and also has expertise in directors' disqualification proceedings. He possesses additional experience advising on insolvency disputes involving professional negligence claims.

Strengths: "He is very clever, switched-on, practical and commercial. He works in a very collegiate way." "He provides an excellent level of service and a great 'can do' attitude."

Recent work: Instructed on behalf of Premier Motorauctions in claims brought against PwC and Lloyds Bank alleging an unlawful conspiracy to artificially distress a profitable company in order to profit and gain from a sale at undervalue.


LEGAL 500 2017

Commercial, Banking, Insolvency & Chancery Law

Leading Silks

‘Exceptionally bright and second to none on his feet.’


CHAMBERS UK 2017

Banking & Finance

Leading Silk - Band 1

Has a highly respected, broad-ranging commercial practice that includes deep expertise in an array of areas, including chancery, company law, professional negligence and insolvency-related disputes. His work in the area of banking and finance includes acting both for and against banks and other financial institutions.

Strengths: "He is extremely clever and very quick. He considers all matters in great detail and is really thoughtful. A pleasure to work with." "He is very commercial, very good with clients and has a style of presentation that judges like very much."

Recent work: Acted for the claimant lender against a firm of accountants in a claim of professional negligence in relation to a due diligence report concerning the purchase of a US medical homecare company. The matter is on appeal to the Supreme Court.

Chancery

Leading Silk - Band 1

Has a broad chancery practice which includes company disputes, real property and partnership matters. He also has experience in commercial and insolvency litigation.

Strengths: "He is very strong and good on his feet."

Recent work: Appeared before the Chancery Division in London in a case concerning the Sherlock Holmes Museum.

Commercial dispute resolution

Leading Silk - Band 1

A formidable barrister who handles all manner of commercial contentious issues, from disagreements coming out of commercial agency relationsips to construction disputes. He tends to represent claimants or appellants in cases and is acclaimed by both instructing solicitors and opposing counsel, who describe his drafting, turnaround time, court manner and way with clients as "just superb" and "absolutely fantastic."

Strengths: "An absolutely brilliant advocate with an exceptional brain; he lives for the court." "By far the best option in Bristol for commercial litigation work." "He's exceptionally bright and he picks things up very quickly; he's good at focusing on the overall picture and seeing how it all hangs together." "A highly accomplished advocate who wins the trust of the judges, is easy to work with, massively commercial, creative with solutions and highly practical - he finds winning solutions to very difficult situations."

Recent work: Successfully acted for the claimants and respondents in PHS v Initial (Rentokil).

Company

Leading Silk - Band 1

A silk with a highly reputable practice in general commercial and insolvency work. His areas of focus and recognised expertise include company disputes, breach of fiduciary duties on behalf of directors and unfair prejudice disputes.

Strengths: "He is an extremely good advocate in court and has a very nice style about him. He is quite persuasive." "He is absolutely brilliant on his feet, he is also incredibly good at drafting and he's very good in negotiations."

Recent work: Acted for the applicant in a case concerning the Sherlock Holmes Society. This was a dispute regarding the rights of purported director of the company to bring an appeal against a winding-up petition.

Partnership

Leading Silk - Band 1

An exceptionally versatile commercial silk, praised for his advocacy, advice and client-handling skills across an impressive range of practice areas. In the partnership sphere, he regularly handles high-stakes issues with a strong commercial flavour, including those concerning real property or family partnerships, or quasi-partnership structures. He also advises extensively on matters affecting solicitors' firms.

Strengths: "Always in demand, and a great practitioner in the field of partnership law." "He's exceptionally hard-working, very bright and innovative."

Professional Negligence

Leading Silk - Band 1

A leading figure for advising on claims against solicitors, surveyors, accountants and construction companies.

Strenghts: "Exceptionally bright and user-friendly across a broad range of practice areas." "He's very good on the detail and very quick at coming to conclusions. He really does inspire confidence and talks at a level clients understand."

Recent work: Respresented a lender in a claim against a firm of accountants concerning a negligent due diligence report for the purchase of a US medical home care company.

Restructuring / Insolvency

Leading Silk - Band 1

A strong commercial barrister who specialises in corporate insolvency work. He acts in claims for and against insolvency practitioners, and also has expertise in directors' disqualification proceedings.

Strengths: "He is very thorough and reliable, his advocacy is excellent and he has a great style. He is extremely precise and user-friedly." "Tactically excellent and great to work with."

Recent work: Successfully acted in a validation application concerning the post-petition transfer of commercial property in Hatton Garden, London.


LEGAL 500 2016

Commercial, Banking, Insolvency & Chancery Law

Leading Silks

'He has an ability to read the opponent and situation very well.' 


CHAMBERS UK 2016

Banking & Finance

Leading Silk - Band 1

A well-respected barrister rapidly developing a first-class reputation at silk level for his expertise in the finance sector and experience in banking disputes. He acts both for and against banks on a wide variety of matters including mortgage fraud. 

Strengths: "He's thorough, commercial and determined." "He's really an excellent advocate."

Recent work: Successfully represented the claimant bank in Mortgage Title Resolutions Services Ltd v J E Shepherd Chartered Surveyors which alleged professional negligence in relation to residential mortgage lending.

Chancery

Leading Silk - Band 1

Primarily known for his commercial chancery practice, he covers all manner of shareholder disagreements and professional negligence claims. He is highly regarded by peers and instructing solicitors alike.

Strengths: "He is a very charismatic individual. Clients love him to bits; he's charming, articulate, quick-witted and indefatigable in his determation to win." "He is very good at seeing the bigger picture and finding a way through multifaceted disputes."

Recent work: Successfully acted for a lender bringing a £15million professional negligence claim against a firm of accountants in relation to a due diligence report concerning a purchase of a US medical homecare company.

Commercial dispute resolution

Leading Silk - Band 1

An outstanding profile for commercial litigation, with sources in agreement the he has had "a very good first year of silk". He has appeared in the Bristol Mercantile Court, the High Court and the Court of Appeal in a variety of contractual, corporate, insolvency and financial disputes. 

Strengths: "He is clever, incisive and possesses a canny ability to provide lucid, practical and easily digestible advice for solicitors and clients alkike." "He very quickly gets up to speed and provides clear and concise commercial guideance in respect of his client's legal predicaments."

Partnership

Leading Silk - Band 1

Distinguished commercial silk who regulartly acts at the intersecion of corporate, commerical and partnership issues, handling both traditional and quasi-partnership matters. Sources highlight his skills as both an advocate and and adviser, commending his commited approach and breadth of expertise.

Strengths: "Always a very safe pair of hands and great to have on your side: you know he is going to throw all the right punches." "He's responsive, very analytical and has a good manner with clients."

Restructuring / Insolvency

Leading Silk - Band 1

Focuses on corporate insolvency work. He is noted for his expertise in directors' disqualification matters and for his expertise indisputes for and against insolvency practitioners.

Strengths: "He is utterly charming, technically incredible and amazing in court."


LEGAL 500 2015

Commercial, banking and insolvency

Leading Silks

'He has that bit of a star quality that clients expect from a silk.' 


CHAMBERS UK 2015

Banking & Finance

Leading Silk - New Silk

An impressive new silk who handles cases for and against banks as well as having notable experience in acting for lender clients. He is highly regarded by peers and instructing solicitors for his client management skills and his considerable experience.

Expertise: "He makes fairly complex cases seem very easy, very effortless." "One of the most talented barristers at the Bristol Bar."

Recent work: Successfully acted for the claimant lender, Platform Funding, in bringing a claim of professional negligence against solicitors Simon & Co.

Chancery

Receives instructions in the South West and London on both traditional and Commercial chancery matters. Disputes relating to trusts, real property, partnerships and insolvency form a large part of his caseload.

Expertise: "What he does so well is he has a fresh curiosity about everything. He doesn't get stuck in conventional wisdoms. He adds fresh value to everything." "It is no mystery why he has been made up to silk this year; he is charming, clever and has a great mind."

Commercial dispute resolution

Acts on a range of complex and substantial Commercial matters, receiving instructions from local and national solicitors.

Expertise: "He's an absolutely stellar lawyer but a terrific chap as well. It's quite rare to combine the two and he does it effortlessly." "He's a very able advocate, is immensely practical and Commercial, and has courage in his conviction."

Recent work: Acted for John Grimes partnership in a professional negligence claim against a construction engineer relating to a residential development in Cornwall.

Company

Offers advice and representation across a range of company law matters. He often works on cases involving schemes of arrangement, and is experienced in working with clients with backgrounds in sport and financial services.

Expertise: "He always thinks of the wider picture." "He is equally good at drafting and advocacy."

Partnership

New silk who is one of the leading practitioners of chancery and Commercial work on the Western Circuit, with partnership matters making up a substantial part of his practice. His expertise includes dissolutions, breaches of duties of good faith and joint venture disputes.

Expertise: "He has an impressive way of dealing with matters. He forms a good understanding of the case, develops a rapport with the client and instructing solicitors, formulates a strategy in conjunction with instructing solicitors, and works tirelessly on the matter." "He is super-bright, great with clients and impressively Commercial. He is also a pleasure to deal with."

Professional Negligence

Has a broad and celebrated Commercial practice, spanning a number of legal disciplines. He is frequently instructed on substantial negligence claims against a range of professionals, including solicitors, accountants, surveyors and those in the construction industry.

Expertise: "He makes fairly complex cases seem very easy and very effortless. He's good on paper and good on his feet." "He goes above and beyond the call of duty, and that is recognised by clients."

Recent work: He successfully acted for the claimant in a negligence claim brought against a construction engineer in relation to a residential development.

Restructuring/Insolvency

Acts in both corporate and personal insolvency situations, and is particularly adept at managing directors' disqualification proceedings. He is highly regarded as a go-to practitioner for heavy insolvency disputes.

Expertise: "He has a very keen mind, and is a simply excellent trial advocate." "He is exceptional both with clients and at trial."


CHAMBERS UK 2014

Banking & Finance

Instructed to act both for and against banks and financial institutions on a variety of issues in the area including mortgage fraud, guarantee enforcement and negligence matters.

Expertise: "A real solid performer on paper and in court."

Recent work: Represented claimant bank in a professional negligence action against a firm of solicitors in connection with residential mortgage lending.

Commercial

The leading junior on the Western Circuit for Commercial litigation. He is instructed in heavyweight Commercial disputes by both regional and national solicitors.

Expertise: "He is extremely sharp, willing to consider innovative arguments and willing to place his neck on the line when giving advice." "He is simply the best junior Commercial litigation barrister in Wales and the West."

Recent work: He acted for the claimant in a professional negligence claim against a construction engineer concerning a residential development in Cornwall.

Chancery

Offers considerable expertise across a broad range of chancery matters. While his practice has a strong Commercial bent to it, he is equally adept at more traditional matters such as property and trusts. The pillar of his practice, however, lies in insolvency and Commercial disputes, for which he receives notable praise.

Expertise: "He is deeply clever and inventive, both in terms of legal knowledge and tactical nous, and he is an excellent advocate. He has an engaging, proactive and Commercial approach which goes down very well with clients.

Insolvency

Holds an excellent reputation in this field, and focuses his practice on corporate insolvency work. Commentators are also keen to highlight his expertise in directors' disqualification proceedings.

Expertise: "He is ferociously bright, pragmatic, client-friendly and exceptionally talented." "He rolls his sleeves up and gets stuck in."

Recent work: He was instructed on behalf of the liquidator in a claim against a shadow director in a trial heard before a Deputy High Court Judge.

Partnership

Offers a broad Commercial practice, and is highly rated by observers for his expertise in partnership law. Interviewees attest to a forceful and highly effective advocacy style.

Expertise: "Hugh is efficient and really delves into the detail of a case. He can turn around work quickly and is very approachable. He is an extremely good advocate - excellent at simplifying complex matters."

Recent work: In Jackson v Bricknell, Sims acted on behalf of the claimant in a claim against the wife of a former partner in a building business. The case, which was settled on the first day of trial, involved allegations that the partner had breached his fiduciary duties.

Professional Negligence

A Commercial and chancery practitioner with a strong professional negligence practice. He is instructed in claims against a broad array of professionals, including accountants, solicitors and surveyors.

Expertise: "He is extremely accomplished, very client and solicitor-friendly, and a most effective advocate." "He's very relaxed; he's got a calming impact on people. He doesn't get flustered with clients and doesn't go overly legal on them - Hugh is one of the better juniors for claimant professional negligence work outside of London."

Recent work: He acted on behalf of a claimant bank in a claim brought against a firm of surveyors concerning alleged professional negligence in residential mortgage lending.

Company

Offers significant experience across a broad range of company law matters, including directors' and shareholder disputes and schemes of arrangement.


CHAMBERS UK 2013

Banking & Finance

"A solid reputation for complex, high-value claims in the banking area".

Commercial

"A versatile barrister with many strings to his bow. Possessed of a broad span of knowledge in the Commercial sphere, he is a "dynamic performer"...Hailed as a "can-do operator" who "sees solutions, not problems," Sims' work on his feet wins just as much praise as his "exceptional written advice." "He's the best cross-examiner for us and probably the first we'd go to," said one interviewee."

Chancery

"One interviewee...[commented] that "the chap is like a walking encyclopaedia - he just rattles off case after case."

Insolvency

"Very bright and personable" provides "good Commercial advice," and is "well received by judges and he's confident in his demeanour."

Partnership

"Good in court and good with the client," he is "a class act," who has recently advised on a number of property development or construction-related partnership disputes."


CHAMBERS UK 2012

Banking & Finance

Hugh "is also heavily involved in banking and finance disputes as an addendum to his formidable Commercial litigation practice. Solicitors favour him as an accessible and user-friendly practitioner who "will always get to the root of complex issues."

Commercial

..."an outstanding barrister" who is "fantastic both on strategy and on the Commercial imperatives of a case." Others say he is also "wonderfully analytical, incisive and accessible."

Chancery

Hugh "handles an admirably broad practice. Much of his work focuses on insolvencies, Commercial and contract litigation and professional negligence claims, and sources further praise his property and partnership nous".

Insolvency

Tipped by sources as "a star of the future."

Partnership

Hugh "handles difficult partnership cases with aplomb. He is known for his "ability to keep a calm hand on the tiller and steer an astute course through complex partnership litigation."


CHAMBERS UK 2012

Banking & Finance

"Hugh Sims provides "quick, accurate advice and is very willing to go above and beyond to help you in any way possible," say solicitors. He acts both for and against banks and financial institutions."

Commercial

"Market commentators are united in the opinion that Hugh Sims is the leading Commercial junior on the Western circuit. He is considered to be "a consistent high-flyer and an exceptionally gifted individual. He's client-friendly, fights his cases hard and is an excellent advocate."

Chancery

"Hugh Sims is commended for his "sharp, bright mind." In addition to having an excellent grasp of insolvency law, he also has great insight into trust, partnerships and property issues."

Insolvency

"He is "razor-sharp and fights hard for his clients.""

Partnership

"Incredibly clever rising star" Hugh Sims, an "excellent fighter in court" who is "so straightforward to deal with."

CLERK CONTACT INFORMATION

For further information and enquiries please contact Chris Checketts 

 

Appointments

  • Appointed to the Attorney General's Panels of Junior Counsel to the Crown.

Memberships

  • BCCBA
  • Combar
  • Chancery Bar Association
  • ILA
  • PNBA
  • R3

education

  • BVC Western & Wales: Prize for Best Overall Performance
  • Diploma in Law, University of Exeter
  • Physics BSc Hons, University of Manchester